I have been working at home for 7 years, and sometimes when I'm hanging out with my other "Stay at home" mom friends I feel like I am different. In fact, I sometimes feel ostracized from the group because where my conversations dip in and out of children, hubby, AND business - the other moms conversations tend to ONLY focus on domestic affairs. There can sometimes be an awkwardness where the moms are almost jealous that I have another topic of conversation besides "Johnny wet his pants today at school". Does anyone else feel the same?
I am so glad you brought this up. A few days ago a working mom posted in our local newspaper that she and her at home friend AGREED that they both had benefits and detriments to their choices, and that they both had too much to do and not enough time. I was so glad that they found common ground in "the mommy wars." When I was rearing my children, I was at home for some years and working for some years. I was a good mom ALL the time (my opinion).
First, don't let yourself feel uncomfortable. You may be putting something on yourself that they don't feel. The next time you get together, make a commitment to not talk about business and see how you feel. Focus on what you have in common. Most of us spend part of our conversation talking about the things we want to FIX. If someone does this, see if you can come up with a solution, or steer the conversation into brainstorming a solution. A common enemy (the problem) is a good way to unite people.
If you do notice jealousy, think about its source. One thing W moms and AH moms need is time alone. Maybe the AH moms think you can afford to do this or that because you work. On a day that you have the time, you might want to have their children over, so the AH mom can have a "day off."
You have been able to juggle business, family, and friends. Relax and look at this as a challenge that you can overcome. Put your creative juices to work. There may be someone in the group that has her own "issues" and you can't reach her. But for the most part everyone in the group wants the best for everyone else.
I think you are lucky to be a stay at home mum that can focus completely on her kids, and be happy with that. Personally i think that it is not jealousy, but somehow they look at you like "how can she do it?"
In life we have to choose priorities, and decide how many priorities we have. I have a few: My home, my study, my mentoring (being mentored), my partner, and of course, my kids. Does it mean i have to give up other stuff? Absolutely. I don't get time to watch a lot of tv. In fact, most tv I get to watch in a day, is the cartoons in the morning with the kids. While we're having breakfast. Most of my day is taken up. Cleaning, spending time with the kids, going to university, coming home, doing the dishes, spending time with my partner, being online, feeding the kids, etc.
I guess my point is, that you can't help what other people choose to do with their lives. And you can't change people's priorities. Perhaps try sparking up a conversation about what they USED to do before they became mum's? And perhaps what they plan to do once the kids get a bit older? Did the company they used to work for tell them they can come back part time when they're ready? Maybe just focusing on other time frames - such as the past, or the future - might help with the conversational flow. Maybe talk about what their passionate about and ask if they've put a business plan together?
Many other mum's i know are stay at home mum's, but a lot of them also have other things outside of their kids and home, or want to have more. I guess i'm quite lucky.